building a life worth living

There’s a tenet in DBT that basically says you should be trying to build yourself a life that’s actually worth living, based on what’s important to you. It’s a weird concept for many of us with mental health struggles, but it’s well worth embracing. I’ve been trying to remind myself, a lot lately, that the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel is that life worth living and I alone get to decide what’s included.

More importantly, I get to decide what’s NOT included.

My relationship with my sister has always been tenuous, even back to when we were kids. She likes to have her own way. No, actually, she always insists on having her own way. When we were young she would hit if she didn’t get what she wanted. As she grew older she used words. Mean, spiteful, hate filled words.

I have to stop to insert a bit of happy news. My mom is getting married. She’s known R since they were 9 years old, he’s a very nice man, and I have never seen her this happy before. I am 100% over the moon excited for them, and so is Lancelot. Hell, so is everyone who knows. Everyone except my sister and the kids.

Somehow she’s convinced that it’s possible to cheat on a dead man. I don’t get it. R’s pastor doesn’t get it. “Til death do you part” means that when one of you dies the other is no longer married. But, not in H’s mind.

Over the course of the last week all hell has literally blown up. There’s been screaming, crying, cursing, and declaring people dead. That’s the point at which I blocked her number and decided that I really don’t need this bullshit.

I’m fairly sure that it’ll be a very long time before I see my nieces again, if ever. H has always used them as a weapon, and that’s unfortunate. I just can’t tolerate the hate she keeps spewing. Sometimes walking away is the victorious thing to do.

Pippy says that sitting on people is also victorious.

In other good news, this is my last day of work for a whole week. Lancelot and I had originally had this week off to dog sit while Mom went on a trip, but that was before the world went sideways so now we’re going to use the time to start moving him in officially. I’m very excited about that.

I’m hoping that once life settles into a bit more of a regular routine I’ll be able to start knitting again. Right now by the time I finish working for the day I have just enough energy to make something to eat, watch a little news, and then crawl into bed. Once we get things cleaned out and organized, oh and moved, I think that’s going to help.

On a tangent, does anyone else live somewhere you can now get cocktails to go with your carry out order? L and I did carry out fajitas from our favorite Mexican restaurant a few weeks ago and got blue margaritas to go with them. That is one of the odder, yet nicer, things to come out of The Rona.

the only thing that stays the same is that nothing ever stays the same

I feel that urge to change things again. It happens now and then, sometimes in response to external stimuli, but not always. I’m kind of feeling that butterfly feeling right now for no particular reason. And that’s just fine.

My back is starting to get better. It’s a process. One of the things we’re trying is a new (hand me down) standing desk at work. It gives me the option of working while seated or while standing. They’re also working on getting me additional monitors, which will be a huge help for productivity.

The one young man I work with did all of the heavy lifting for me. I had to rearrange some of the bits in my office to make everything work, but I think it does.

Last night Dr. K and I went to the gym and hit the track. I think I love those walks as much for the time to have candid chats as much as for the exercise. It really is more tolerable to exercise when you have a partner like that to keep you accountable and to keep you company.

Today is therapy day, which is always something I look forward to. I even remembered to bring a shawl with me so I can knit in the waiting room. I inevitably get there early and end up playing with my phone, so why not do something that’s actually productive and enjoyable?

Speaking of being productive, I’ve been trying to get myself into some routines for getting things done at home. Lancelot has his own routines and I think something like that would help me. Plus it would take some of the pressure off, no more waiting and then trying to cram everything into one evening or, worse, Sunday afternoon.

Do you have routines that help you stay on top of things?

i did a thing

I was telling someone at work about the dermatologist and how, quite frankly, I loathe her. She has the personality of a postage stamp, and not an interesting stamp. More like one of those boring ass “forever” stamps with the very non-de script American flags on it. And she’s mean.

But I digress.

Part of what causes this skin bullshit I deal with is weight, and I know that. But it’s difficult to be this age, have a potentially functioning ovary (but just one), and take the gigantic compliment of psych meds that I do. Plus, bad food tastes good.

So I’m trying. I’ve almost entirely given up caffeine, I have maybe one sugary drink a week, alcohol is out, lots more veggies and fruit are in, lean meat like fish and chicken. I swear to Ceiling Cat, I’M TRYING!!!

And then it happened. My good pal Dr. K and I joined the gym on campus. Yesterday we walked. For 30 minutes. And I didn’t die.

I set a goal back in June to lose 100lbs by the same time next year. If I expect to achieve that goal I’m going to have to keep this up, and I know that.

Besides, I want that fucking little doctor off my ass.

so there I was, up to my false eyelashes in chicken feathers and ginger ale bottles

It’s been hot here lately. HOT. Sadly that means my energy levels are super low. I’m having one hell of a time getting motivated to start walking again, even inside on the treadmill with both fans going. And I know I need to get some activity in.

But…

Somehow, and I’m really not sure how, I’ve lost 2 1/2lbs since last Friday. And this baffles me because Lancelot and I didn’t exactly eat super healthy food over the weekend. We mostly ate crap to be honest.

Anyway, I’m excited, super excited, and I’m hoping this helps jump start my walking and activity. So YAY!

In other news, I finally got my new glasses.

They almost perfectly match my hair, they have tons of bling, and the clip on sunglasses are amazing.

With the exception of the weather this week is shaping up well. It’s a short week for me, only three days, and then I have a delightful five day weekend. And then the following week is only four days and then I’m off work until July 22nd. We aren’t going anywhere exotic this time, just taking time off work to relax and enjoy each other’s company. I can’t wait.

things i’ve been learning

  • eating a bowl of ice cream isn’t going to make the world end
  • “traditional” meal prep isn’t necessarily right for me – I get bored too easily
  • variety is crucial; this includes a little junk every now and then
  • my mental health is every bit as important as my physical health; I can’t neglect one in favor of the other
  • this is a process
  • Lancelot thinks I’m beautiful no matter what
  • I lost 1lb since Monday even with eating the ice cream last night

The lighting in my office is horrid. But yes, I’m wearing tie-dye. This is a high-low skirt and kimono style vest over a white tank. I got the combo at the art festival a few weeks ago. I made the jewelry. I think this may be my new favorite outfit.

Mom and I are trying to eat healthy dinners together and I’m trying to have healthy lunches but I really have realized that having the exact same lunch every day is not for me. There will be similar pieces, such as fresh clementines and hard boiled eggs, but I’m going to try for something a little different. If I have a salad I’ll try to put different things on it, you know, stuff like that.

I know for damn sure that if I get bored with the food I’ll drop this damn “healthy eating” thing like a hot rock.

Yes, it’s a pain in the ass to make a lunch every night, but the pay off will be worth it.

One down, 99 to go…

the biggest goal ever

I currently weigh 269lbs. I am 5’6″ tall. Depending on who you ask I am considered Morbidly Obese even though I am constantly told, even by medical professionals, that I don’t look that heavy.

But I am. And I’ve decided that being that heavy is almost certainly the root of my discontent these days.

My body hurts, almost constantly. It just plain doesn’t feel right. And I get tired entirely too easily.

These aren’t part of a larger, more sinister, issue. This is me not having taken proper care of my body for far too long. I will own this issue because it’s mine to own.

So what’s my goal? I will lose 100lbs by June 24, 2020.

Before anyone panics, that would still have me at a healthy weight for my height. I am also doing this at the recommendation of my doctors. I have no intention of doing a crash diet, using laxatives or stimulants, starving myself, exercising to the point of excess, or anything that is otherwise not healthy. I plan to be more diligent about my food and drink choices and increase my activity, namely walking.

I can do this. I will do this. Lancelot and Mom are doing it with me, though I don’t think either of them plan to lose as much. We will support each other.

I’m telling you all about this because I need to be held accountable. And maybe you’re looking for someone to inspire you or make you feel better about your progress. Who knows.

I will share good recipes as I come across them, I promise you that. Sometimes that’s the hardest part.

Here we go… 100 or bust.

finally friday

The end of the week was, for a long time in my world, just the end of the week. I won’t say that it was awful, but it wasn’t amazing. Mom and I would usually spend all day Saturday running around – errands, shopping, whatever other trouble we could find – exhausting ourselves.  On Sunday we might do things around the house, or attempt to recover.

And then…

Lancelot.

How can you not love that smile? Seriously. And that’s little Riley the River Otter on his shoulder. Riley came home with me from the aquarium in the Dubai Mall. It’s not uncommon for L to include one of the “kids” in the pic when he sends me a selfie. He’s adorable and sweet and treats me with respect and I love him.

So now weekends are usually spent doing stuff together like cooking, eating out, going to movies, watching movies on the couch, and lately we’ve been going to the local farmer’s markets with Mom. Good times.

I wouldn’t say that my weekends are necessarily better, they’re different. I always had a good time with my mom, and I definitely have a good time with L. I do look forward to the weekend just a little more, mostly because, well, grown up things. Y’all know what I mean.

Last night I was able to get another necklace pendant put together. I’m planning to wear it next week with a new outfit. I’m still trying to put together new things to wear. I seriously think that part of my Case of the Blahs has to do with my “look.” I want to look like I feel and I’ve been feeling younger lately. I’ll just blame L for that.

At any rate, I’m still doing my best to get my “poo in a pile” as Dr. K would say. I’m trying to do better with the food and I’m making sure to make time for the activities I enjoy. Working my DBT skills like a good kid.

reset

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2006, shortly before my 30th birthday. I’ve been in what I consider “active” recovery since 2009, shortly after my 4th (and final) suicide attempt. Most of the time I’m pretty good, like stable enough that your average stranger wouldn’t notice anything unusual about me. Well, nothing unusual aside from the strange hair and my unique fashion sense.

But sometimes I’m off my game and I need to hit my own reset button. This seems to be one of those times.

The doc started me on a new med to try to help with the tremors that I have, caused by Lithium. Maybe it’s the slowed heart rate that’s resulting from that.

Two years ago I had a breast cancer scare. I just went in for my mammogram last week and was rather nervous about it. Maybe it was the anxiety from that.

Work is getting ridiculously busy again, a little earlier than usual. Every time I think I’m going to get caught up I feel like yet another paper avalanche happens. Maybe it’s the stress from that.

I did something to piss off my back and I’ve been entertaining a headache for several days now. I’m still not sure what caused either, but that could be the culprit.

Regardless, I’m not feeling like myself and I don’t like it one bit.

I’ve been redecorating my office a bit. I’ve been buying new clothes, changing up my look. I’ve changed some of the bits in the bedroom.

I’m not sure what else to do, but I’ll keep trying. Something will hit the reset button in a meaningful way and I’ll be back on track.

taking out the trash

I’ve mentioned several times recently that I’ve been on this “clean out all the bullshit” kick. I’m loving it. Clothes that didn’t fit or don’t make me happy, jewelry I never wore, some shoes, a few books, candles… I realized just now that there’s another stash of clothes that need to go, hidden under the stairs.

But there are other things that need to be removed. Yesterday I ended up cleaning out my closet at work, the one that primarily houses snacks and stuff. That was a disaster. Today I’m going to spend a little time on my desk. Too much clutter, too much nonsense in the drawers.

I can’t really say what it is that gets me into these moods, but it’s a cyclical thing with me. Kind of like Spring Cleaning on steroids I guess. All I know is that I feel better once it’s all done.

This afternoon I’m meeting with one of the program coordinators for the writing program I just left. I feel good that I was able to finish the semester successfully, but I know that I just can’t take on that kind of workload and stress again right now. I want to finish the memoir one of these days but I already know that my Fall semester is going to be too busy. There’s at least one international trip planned so that right there is enough to make me not interested in school.

I’m going to try to add back in a hobby/creative outlet that I haven’t done in ages. I’ve signed up to take a fused glass class at a local studio where I’ve taken classes before. I’m excited, it should be great. The last project I made, I think, was last summer. Not that the knitting and jewelry making aren’t good enough, but a girl shouldn’t box herself in too much when it comes to being creative.

my plans are like eggs…

…scrambled.

The weekend did not turn out as anticipated. Parts were really good, other parts not so much. Over all I would say it was pretty decent.

Y’all know the school thing this semester did Not Go Well At All. I kind of felt like the world’s biggest idiot because of that, at least I did until I talked to Dr. K, my good friend at work. (yes she really does have her PhD, that’s why she’s qualified) She told me that had she known I would be enrolled in 15 hours of grad credit every semester for this program she’d have Very Strongly Encouraged me to run.

For those of you not familiar with the way higher education works in the States, a full-time undergraduate student has to take at least 12 credit hours and usually doesn’t take more than 15. A typical class equals 3 credit hours, so a “good” load for undergrads is four classes. For a graduate student, 6 hours is typical. If you’re working a full time job, which most grad students are, it’s ridiculous to take more than that. I’ve been taking FIVE classes worth.

Hello, my name is Utterly Ridiculous. How do you do?

So this whole 15 credit hours in a “low residency” setup was really never a good idea for me from the very start. Sometimes I am stubborn and insist on learning difficult lessons the hard way. It’s called being willful. It does not suit me. I know this.

Anyway, I’ll finish this semester and then I’m switching back to my previous program. Back in 2015 I finished a Technical Communication graduate certificate, 15 credit hours worth of work that helped me with my job. The English department offers two grad certificates; tech comm and Advanced Writing. My goal now is to do the Advanced Writing cert, so I’ll have 30 hours of grad credit, and then hopefully write a thesis and smash all of that into a M.A. in English. I will do this one class per semester, skipping the Hell on Earth that is Summer Sessions.

It just might work.

Anyway, there are other changes coming. I’ve already alerted my hair stylist wizard that I’m going to want a new cut and color next week. I’m also feeling my creative ooze starting to flow. It’s actually a good thing, really. Nothing like a good spurt of ooze to make the magic happen.